Fighting the high electricity prices the EU Commission wants to prescribe binding aid measures for the member states. A 41-page draft regulation, which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is available, requires governments, among other things, to skim off excess profits from cheap power plants and use the proceeds to relieve households and companies that are struggling with energy costs. In the draft, important targets and limits are replaced with "X's", meaning that they are not yet determined. It is clear, however, that the Brussels authorities rely on strict regulations and do not just want to make recommendations to the member states.
The Commission will probably present the completed regulation this Wednesday. On the day becomes head of authorities Ursula von der Leyen also in Strasbourg European Parliament give their annual State of the EU speech - there the initiatives against high energy prices will also be discussed. In order for the EU law to come into force, the governments of the member states must agree. The Czech government wants this to happen by the end of the month. The Czechs will continue to run the business until the end of the year Council of Ministersthe legislative body of EU governments.
The draft regulation would introduce a uniform upper limit for the price per megawatt hour that cheap power plants - i.e. green, coal and nuclear power providers - are allowed to earn with their electricity. Is the price to the power exchanges higher, the difference goes to governments to fund aid programs. This approach is similar to the model that the federal government wants to introduce anyway.
Oil, gas and coal companies should make a solidarity contribution
These cheap power plants are currently making enormous profits because the market price is based on the costs of the most expensive electricity producer. And these are the gas power plants. As a result, the price of gas also drives up the price of electricity. The most recent draft does not yet contain a number for the upper limit, but earlier drafts by the commission named 200 euros per megawatt hour as the limit. Not only trading on the stock exchange should be recorded, but also contracts that pass the stock exchange.
In addition, the Commission wants to collect a solidarity contribution from oil, gas and coal companies. This should be based on how much the 2022 profit has increased compared to previous years. The EU wants to set a minimum tax rate, the governments determine the exact amount. The proceeds are to flow, among other things, into aid programs for citizens and for industrial sectors with high energy consumption.
In addition, the regulation stipulates a binding target for reducing electricity consumption at peak times. Here, too, the specific number is missing, but five percent was targeted in earlier drafts. Discussions among EU governments about the regulation are likely to be difficult at times. At a meeting of energy ministers last week, for example, some governments spoke out against making the savings target binding. There should also be debates about the height of the price cap for cheap power plants.